Howdy. So I filmed my first commercial ever today. Well, technically it wasn't the first one ever. I did a little shoot for a friend's company back in the Buffalo area, but that was just him with a hand cam MOS style. Today was pretty much what I would think a full on production would be like.
I jump in my Zip Car(tm) and head on up to Evanston. The location was easy to spot because there were about 10 or so trucks all lined up on one side of the street and much of the insides of the house we were filming in were out in the front lawn. The commercial is for Chinet(tm) - you know, the paper/plastic plates and cups people. I am Groom's Guest or Guest of Groom or something like that. 4 principals; me, 2 other Groom's Guests, and the Groom himself. There were also 2 extras, but I think they only used one of them.
There really is a lot less to talk about then I thought there would be. No really wacky or crazy things happened. I showed up, got into costume (just regular clothes - my apologizes to those hoping I would have to wear a monkey or penis costume or something). Then it was some quick makeup. Then standing outside next to the craft table. For those who don't know what that is, just think of it as a snack table. I have already determined that it is one of the best parts of the whole damn process. Snack and chat, snack and chat. The female counterparts to ourselves come out of the house. Apparently they shot earlier then us. Basically the commercial is girls at bridal shower, then guys at a pseudo bachelor get together, back and forth. The humor is in the juxtaposition between the two scenes. So the girls come out the house and I spend some time deciding on which lady my character is married to. The nice tall brown haired lady will do. Snack and chat, snack and chat. Time to go downstairs to the basement area. The production company turned the basement into what everyone is now calling a "man cave" (thanks a lot I Love You Man. You weren't even that good of a movie). Nasty looking throw rug. Couple of ugly couches and chairs. Mounted fish and some horns on the wall. The basement had a bar in it, and a pool table as well as a big vinyl record collection and an 8-Track player shaped like a robot. So we go down to the basement, get into position. Lights get adjusted. Space gets adjusted. Everything gets checked and checked again. Then break for lunch (which is the second best part of the whole process). Asian themed food was on the menu, and it was pretty damn good. Potty break time before we get to the actual filming. This was the worst part of the process. The owners of the home we shot in didn't want us using their bathrooms, so there was a port-o-potty outside. I go to the port-o-potty, enter, and there is... well there is no way to put this lightly so.... there was a large pile of shit sitting in the toilet. This was a pretty fancy port-o-potty so it had a foot pump that you could press to "flush" the toilet. I pumped and pumped, but the shit would not move. So I pissed on the shit, washed my hands, and got the hell out of there. Back to the shoot. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Then shoot the scene a few times. Re-arrange everything. Shoot. Re-arrange. Shoot. And so on. And done.
That is really it. It was the most exciting non-exciting thing I think I have ever been a part of. I was so excited to be there and be part of the process, but you really are just waiting around for the majority of the time. When we weren't rolling there was like 20 people running around doing 10 different things all at once. It's heavily chaotic and then everything is really quiet, roll film, cut, and then chaos all over again. The extra weird icing is the fact that I have no idea where the commercial will be showing (nationally, locally, cable, network), still don't know how I get paid or frankly if I am even going to be in the final product. It is a strange business, that's for sure. I certainly hope I get to do it again and again.